Monthly Archives: September 2013

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Energy Efficient Building

Energy efficient building solutions is a fast growing sector and new technology comes up every day. The standards varies from different areas, e.g. the german building standard can not be used to south italian building standards, because in Germany the standard has to fight cold temperatures, while in south Italy the standard has to fight warm temperatures. There are different solutions that may confuse the buyer, but all can be used in any region and here we shortly explain four of them:

Low Energy House is a building standard where design, material and technology is used to lower energy consumption and uses less energy from one or several sources. The standard varies but in Europe it refers to a house that uses half of the German or Swiss low-energy standards referred to below for space heating, normally in the range from 30 kWh/m²a to 20 kWh/m²a = 9,500 Btu/ft²/yr to 6,300 Btu/ft²/yr. Low-energy buildings typically use high levels of insulation, energy efficient windows, low levels of air infiltration and heat recovery ventilation to lower heating and cooling energy.

deepstone_house_w031209_6Example of a Low Energy House (Photo: e-architect.co.uk)

Passive House is a standard for energy efficient building, reducing ecological impact. It results in very low energy builiding  that require little energy for space heating or cooling. This standard is not limited to only residental building, it is also well adapted in construction of  public buildings, business facilities, schools, supermarkets to name few. The passive house standard is well developed in German speaking countries and Scandinavia. The Passive House standard is actually developed by a swedish and german collaboration.

The Passivhouse standard for central Europe requires that the building fulfills the following requirements:

  • The building must be designed to have an annual heating demand as calculated with the Passivhaus Planning Package of not more than 15 kwh/m² per year = 4746 btu/ft² per year, in heating and 15 kwh/m² per year cooling energy OR to be designed with a peak heat load of 10W/m²
  • Total energy source for electricity and etc., primary energy for heating, hot water and electricity must not be more than 120 kWh/m² per year = 3.79 × 104 btu/ft² per year.
  • The building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour = n50 ≤ 0.6 / hour at 50 Pa (N/m²) as tested

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A building based on the passive house concept in Darmstadt, Germany (photo: Wikipedia)

Zero Energy House is just what the name inteds, a building with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions. Depending of country and technology the house use the electrical grid for energy storage but some are independent of grid. This standard offers several options for producing and conserving energy and many ways of measuring energy.

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Example of Zero Energy House (Photo: zokazola.com – Stefan Behling)

Energy Plus House is the latest in energy efficient building (2013-09-28) and is a house that produces more energy from renewable energy sources than it consumes over an year. The house is a combination of microgeneration technology and low energy building technologies. This standard can be adapted to any kinds of construction as homes, offices, schools to name few…

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Prototype of Zero Energy structure in Germany (photo: Wikipedia)

 

Numbers and some definition sources: Wikipedia

Confusion of perfect foods – How real carrots actually looks like

CarrotsChart

Sicilian Onions

SicilianOnions

Beans and Potatoes a la Siciliana

This dish is typical sicilian, super easy and very good.

– Boiled potatoes: cut them in cubes before boiling, then they are ready faster
– Boiled or steamed fresh beans
– But beans and potatoes in a pan or other suitable container, let them cool down. Add olive oil, vinegar, black pepper and chilli. Stir and serve.
Dish is best eaten room temperature or cold.

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How to Peel a Cactus Fruit

The Cactus Fruit (also called pricky pear, fichi d’india) is an amazing fruit, but has sticks that makes many avoid to eat the fruit. When you harvest the fruit, use industrial gloves and then brush the fruit with a thick brush to get rid of the sticks. Then it is time to peel the fruit:

1 & 2) Cut both ends

3) Cut a notch over the fruits long side

4) And then just roll out the fruit. The skin is thick and very easy to remove

FiciIndia

What is Biodiesel? And why use it.

Biodiesel is considered as an environmental friendly fuel. Biodiesel is made of vegetable oil, waste cooking oil/restaurant greeze, animal oils and fats and tallow. Best sources are rapeseed, soybean and palm oil, but most biodiesel is produced from waste vegetable oils. The agricultural produced oil is under development because the process is still expensive.

The benefits of biodiesel is that it does not release any carbon dioxide, it is biodegradable, clean-burning and non-toxic. Biodiesel has better lubricating properties and much higher cetane ratings (measurment of quality), than classical diesel.

Biodiesel is mostly used in standard diesel engines and is thus distinct from the vegetable and waste oils used to fuel converted diesel engines. Biodiesel can be used alone or blended with petrodiesel. Can be used by vechicles, trains, aircraft, heating oil, clean oil spills and in generators. Biodiesel is a great solution to reduce petroleum dependence and improve the environment.

The technology is not new as transesterification of a vegetable oil was conducted as early as 1853 by Patrick Duffy.

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Sources to Biodiesel: soybeans and rapeseed

Benefits by Eating Fruit Seeds

Fruit seeds are harmless when eaten in moderate quantities. Myths like apple seeds contains small amounts of cyanide and grape seeds grow vines in your stomach are not true, also because you already eat seeds without thinking of it, like strawberry seeds to name one.

Many fruit seeds contains high amounts of fibers, antioxidants and vitamins, including B-17 and many have anti-cancer properties. Some unripe fruits seeds can cause unpleasent stomach effects.

Examples of  nutrient seeds are:

Apple Seeds…rich in vitamins, minerals,phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium,  iron and sulfur. Treat acne, psoriasis and other skin issues. Dietary fiber to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Grapes seeds…popular to use in beauty products because it works againts acne and moisturizes the skin. Great to use grapes seeds in scrubs, makes skin soft and shiny. Contains vitamins A, E and C.

Watermelon seeds…rich in natural fats, proteins and 8 amino acids. Contains vitamins, minerals, riboflavin, niacin, foliate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Chew them before swallowing, then you do not loose the nutrients.

Avocado…high in potassium and antioxidants,  one of the best sources of  fiber.

Blackberry…good source of omega-3 oils, protein, fiber and antioxidants.

Kiwi…vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

 

What is Oil Pulling and why you should try it?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic method for detox and rejuvenation.

Why Do It?

Find relief from congestion in the sinuses and throat. After rinsing, you will find yourself blowing your nose and clearing your throat. Some testimonies tells they have got rid of other health problems like nerve damages and back problems, weight loss, whiter teeth, healthier gums, happiness, helps food digestion, reduce cellulites just to name some…

Which Oils?

Natural oils. Coconut and olive oils to prefer. Also sunflower or sesame oil works well. Any oil will do as long as it is natural.

How?

Push, swirl, and pull the oil between your teeth, around your gums, but do not swallow or gargle so it may touch your throat because it is now carrying somewhat toxic material. Do this for 5 – 20 minutes. Then spit it in the toilet because oil can clog your drain. Best is to do this in the morning before eating.

Oil pulling is very easy, just google “Oil Pulling” to find more information and benefits.

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